The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) welcomed and assisted more repatriated Overseas Filipinos (OFs) from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) who availed of the 90-day amnesty program of the said country.
On May 11, the DSWD assisted 13 OFs, composed of five mothers, one father, and seven children. On the other hand, on May 13, the Department provided assistance to another 13 OFs composed of four mothers, one father, and eight children.
The DSWD also extended aid to another batch of OFs who arrived on Sunday, May 14, composed of five mothers, five children, and one pregnant woman.
To date, the DSWD has assisted 102 OFs, including those who arrived on April 17 together with President Rodrigo Duterte and those who returned to the Philippines on May 4.
Some 26 more OFs comprised of one adult, 11 mothers, and 14 children from Kuwait are expected to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) this evening.
DSWD Social Welfare Attaché Office (SWATO) Officer-in-Charge Perlita V. Panganiban and Social Welfare Officer Lucita J. Villanueva met the latest groups of repatriates, together with staff from DSWD Central and Field Office – National Capital Region, and officials from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The Department provided meals and cash assistance to the OFs. The rest of the repatriates were assisted by OWWA, which provided transportation assistance and places to stay while they wait for their flight back to their provinces.
The DSWD will also endorse the names of the members of the repatriated families to its field offices which will assess the families’ needs for post-repatriation assistance.
The OFs who availed of the free repatriation ticket assistance from the DFA-Rapid Response Team were those who encountered problems with their employers and overstayed their visas. They are part of an estimated 7,000 individuals who are expected to avail of the amnesty program of the country.
Noraisa, 30, who was fired as a housekeeper in a school in Saudi for having a child, thanked the Duterte government now that she is back home with her eight-month-old baby.
“Akala namin wala na pong pag-asa para makaalis at makakuha ng libreng ticket. Nagpapasalamat po kami sa tulong ng gobyerno (We thought there was no hope for us to go back home and get a free ticket. We thank the government for helping us),” she said.
Similarly, Almira, 27, is also thankful to the government for assisting her and her husband in their return to the Philippines with their child. She said that they are also grateful to the DSWD for the cash assistance provided to them.
“Mahirap po ang pinagdaanan ko doon sa Saudi. Nagtrabaho ako ng maayos bilang domestic helper pero hindi binibigay ang sahod ko ng tama at nasa oras. Minsan, delayed ng five months. Nakatikim din ako ng pang-aabuso sa amo ko noong tinapunan niya ako ng mainit na kape sa braso. Salamat talaga sa tulong para makauwi kami (What I have gone through in Saudi was really hard. I worked well as a domestic helper, but my employer did not give my salary on time. Sometimes, it is delayed for five months. I also experienced abuse when my employer poured a hot cup of coffee on my arm. I am really thankful now that we are home),” Almira said.
“The DSWD will continue to assist OFs who will avail of the 90-day amnesty program of Saudi Arabia. We are constantly coordinating with our Social Service Attaché in Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and in Kuwait for the names of mothers and their children who will be flying back home in the next couple of weeks for the provision of appropriate assistance,” DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo said.
The 90-day amnesty period offered by the KSA allows foreign nationals, including Filipino workers, who are illegally staying in the country to return to their countries of origin without paying fines or facing legal measures. ###